The pork industry is a prime example—an industry that in one generation (30 years) has become vertically integrated and controlled by a few corporations. Here’s how that effects family farms, consumers and our economy:
- Two-thirds of the hog market is controlled by four companies, Smithfield, Cargill, JBS/Swift and Tyson, two of which are foreign-owned, JBS/Swift by Brazil and Smithfield by China.
- Since 1985, the retail price of pork has increased 146% (from $1.71 to $4).
- Hog producers share of every retail dollar has decreased 31% (from $.49 to $.34).
- We have lost 91% of hog farmers in Missouri, and 84% national-wide since 1985.
- In Sept. 1985, Missouri had 2,625,000 market hogs on hand and in Sept. 2014, Missouri had 2,410,000 market hogs on hand—an 8% decrease.
As much as corporate ag supporters would like us to believe that the industrialization of meat production is inevitable, more efficient and results in cheaper food, it simply isn’t true.
Missouri doesn’t market any more hogs than we did 30 years ago, but we do it with less independent producers, higher prices to consumers and more corporate concentration.